Featured Articles

How the US Blockade Against Cuba Takes a Toll on Health, Not Just Politics

Photo: Bill Hackwell

The blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States affects the island’s health system as well as its renowned missions across the world, according to activists and health experts.

The revelation comes as Cubans and solidarity activists from different organizations are demanding the end of the U.S. blockade in a series of events in Washington, D.C. as part of the third “Days of Action Against the Blockade.”

Leima Martinez, head of the North American Division of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, ICAP, says the work they’ve done to raise awareness about the economic blockade this year has focused on the hardships of medicine access, both in Cuba and the United States.

“Health is the most sensitive issue for our population,” Martinez told teleSUR.

“Our doctors, our institutions are searching for other ways, other markets, other friends, even in the U.S., despite the prohibition of Cuba to directly buy medicines that are exclusive and only produced in the United States,”

Learn More

Day 2 of the Days of Action

Dr Jesus Reno speaking at American University with Joe Cassidy from the NNU

Cubans will “always thank our American friends for all they do” to try to ease the impact of the U.S. blockade on Cuban health, says Leima Martinez of Cuba’s Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). But real change won’t happen, she suggested to an audience of students and health care professionals at American University in Washington Tuesday, until the U.S. Congress finally ends its failed blockade of Cuba.

Pointing to statistics presented to the United Nations that showed the blockade cost the Cuban health care system $82.3 million in 2014-15 alone, Martinez said that, “if the blockade ended tomorrow, we would have that $82 million to invest in health care for our people.”

The well-attended session at American University — which also featured Dr. Jesus Reno, the head of pediatric oncology at the National Institute of Oncology and Radiology in Havana, and Dr. Abraham Vela, a California-based graduate of the famed Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana —

Learn More

Days of Action Against the Blockade Kicked off Monday Sept 11

Busboys and Poets 091117The third annual Days of Action Against the Blockade kicked off Monday night with presentations by Cuban pediatric oncologist Dr. Jesus Reno and two recent U.S. graduates of Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), Dr. Lucia Perez Agudelo and Dr. Gregory Wilkinson, in front of a full house at Bus Boys and Poets in Tacoma Park, Washington, D.C.

Activists from the U.S., Canada and Sweden, along with our Cuban guests and five ELAM doctors spent much of the day preparing for our week of activities and advocacy. Mavis Anderson, Senior Associate of the Latin American Working Group, generously briefed participants on the best ways to make our case on Capitol Hill.

Advocacy teams will fan out Tuesday to begin three days of visiting Congressional Offices to highlight the many ways in which the failed U.S. blockade of Cuba continues to endanger the health of both Cubans and Americans, and to encourage lawmakers to legislate its end.

Learn More

Irma: Cuba sends hundreds of doctors to Caribbean islands devastated by hurricane

Cuba has sent doctors to several Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma.

More than 750 health workers have arrived in Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti.

They have been told to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) and to contribute to aiding the recovery of regions that have been hit by the hurricane.

The nation of 11 million people has a history of sending medical staff when other nations are in need, having done so during west Africa’s Ebola crisis in 2014 and 2015.

A brigade of more than 600 Cuban health workers went to Sierra Leone in 2014 to help tackle the crisis.

They also sent 1,200 health workers to Haiti after the nation was hit with an earthquake in 2010.

Cuba’s international medical mission has won the socialist state many friends.

Learn More

Great News! Visas Granted to Cuban Health Care Professionals!

In a few moments, I am going to ask you to make a contribution to our campaign. Before I do that, I would like to tell you why this request is so important.

Earlier this year, the International Committee began planning our

Third Days of Action Against the Blockade in Washington, D.C. The week of activities is designed to raise awareness about the impact the U.S. blockade has had on the health of the Cuban people. But we are also in a critical moment in the discussion of our own health care system in the United States.

That’s why we invited Cuban health care professionals to join us in Washington. We wanted Cuban and U.S. health professionals to have the opportunity to engage in a fruitful dialog about what Americans can learn from Cuba’s health care successes, and how we can work together to advocate for a just policy towards Cuba on Capitol Hill.

As we approach the upcoming week of activities in DC, I want to share some great news!

The U.S. government has granted visas to Dr. Jesus Renó, head of pediatrics at the National Institute of Oncology and Radiology in Havana and Nurse Eduardo Gonzalez, who in 2014 went to West Africa to work with victims of Ebola. They will be traveling to Washington to participate in our week of activities from September 11-16. That is wonderful news but it comes with responsibility too.

Learn More